Let me take a step back and not be cynical for once in my life:
I knew I had to get out of here; the house, the room, it was all too stifling. More specifically, I needed to go outside, far away, at least for the weekend.
And that was what I did; with only a backpack, a few toiletry essentials, a car, and some good company (aka my family), I headed out for a two-day stay near the magnificent shoreline of the Central Coast. The beach welcomed me when I arrived, the birds and waves calling out that it was good to see me again (I had gone two times before). Nothing had changed, unlike my life, which continues to move at a fast pace. I wanted it all to slow down. I clung to my teenage years, now past, like the cliffs that make up the miles and miles of shoreline. I walked, the wooden planks of the boardwalk creaking familiarly both like a long-lost friend and dangerously like an enemy. After years and years of support, would it break? Would I fall between the cracks, the trust to be lost?
I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the end of the boardwalk- the trust was still there.
Speaking of breathing, the air, at once fresh and pungent, wafted in and out of my thoughts as I stopped to admire the beauty and violence of the breaking waves. Blue and seductive, they rolled and crashed against the jagged rocks, turning foamy white upon impact. Seal-slept rocks were the attraction, with tourists willing to go the way down to capture at least a moment of nature at its calmest.
More traveling ensued the following day. More beaches and scenery awaited up north. But first, the wood. Shadowy trees, narrow winding roads, and the seclusion of it all felt slightly claustrophobic as we continued to climb, climb up up up to the zenith of our destination.
We made it. The trees gave way to blue, infinite miles of ocean running towards the bright, burning afternoon sun. I saw seals and birds perched on a large rock in the distance, a community not too dissimilar from ours. Mothers, children, weary travelers all gathered on the spot, catching the rays of the sun and relaxing like the tourists who watched them. The cypress trees leaned lazily over the cliffs, laid-back, but also somewhat audacious. They seemed to tell the ocean “I’m not afraid of you.”
The food was enjoyable. Tasted some flavors and items that I had never had in my life and revisited some as well: bouillabaisse, escargot, goat cheese (of course), and rich wine. The flavors of the land and sea married harmoniously, satisfying my appetite for something bigger: pleasure.
Quiet is the word that I want to describe my two-day vacation. No Internet, no projects that needed to be done (or that they could wait until I got back), and it felt good. I usually don’t care for beaches, even though I live near one. But these beaches, these weekend destinations, were different. They weren’t loud, they weren’t crowded. And they offered a kind of spirituality to my well-being. The trip was short, but the duration was perfect: any longer and the Zen-like quality would break- and I would become bored.
Wherever I go, I learn something new; that trip was no exception. It’s the start of a new year, and therefore an opportunity for change. The sea taught me to let go of things that I harbor, issues that just don’t seem to go away. The tides will come and wash them away, but never quite erasing them. Let the problems go, but never completing forget. This year, especially this coming school term, is going to be my year. Like the sea, the sky, and the rocks, I am forever changing. And I guess I have to accept that.
-The Finicky Cynic